How do you review a game such as Fallout 4 in a reasonable time frame? Here at Player2 we couldn’t come up with an answer to that tricky question so we decided to do something different. For five days five different writers will be jotting down some personal experiences with Fallout 4. These aren’t reviews or recommendations but stories from their journey through the Wasteland. So grab a bottle of Nuka Cola and some crispy squirrel bits, sit back in a comfy chair and enjoy our 5 days of Fallout 4.
Five days of Fallout 4 – A Cup of Concrete
WARNING – There are mild environmental story spoilers in this post.
My first taste of Fallout 4 echoes that of our editor; a quick load-up of the game for patching purposes, followed by an immediate move to bed around 1AM. The next day at work went faster than I had anticipated which was a relief, such was my anticipation to spend some time with the game.
After around 3 hours of play, I had progressed to the point in Bethesda games where I start to feel guilty for not going off the beaten track and exploring the vast world on offer. Backtracking to the starting area, I began a quest chain designed to introduce the crafting system in Fallout 4, a feature that I was sure I would ignore prior to release.
“What the heck,” I thought, “I’ll give it a go.”
What followed next was a 90-minute search for the ever elusive concrete, a vital building block of any post-apocalyptic society.
I decided to cover some ground to the north-east, skirting around the body of water dominating the area. Night was fast approaching, and I didn’t feel particularly well equipped to deal with nocturnal wasteland predators. In the distance I spotted a small shack and made my way over to investigate. Dogmeat, ever the faithful canine companion, quickly alerted me to an enemy presence – a lone gunmen and his trained guard dog. I quickly put the beast down with a 10mm round to the head, craning upwards to give its owner the same treatment. Making my way up the stairs, I was surprised to find the corpse of a young woman, who I initially took to be asleep, arranged as she was on a sleeping bag. Her simple clothes told me that she was had been a farmer before whatever god-awful event led her to this hermit’s shack. I paused for a moment in reflection before quickly scanning the area – no concrete. Time to move on.
I made my way much further south, resting in town until daybreak, before setting off once more. Continuing south, I meandered slightly east before spotting an isolated house situated in some scrub, directly under powerlines. As I approached, strange noises coming from the direction of the house had me ready my pistol, crouching to avoid detection. It was then I spotted them – a pack of feral ghouls gathered around the house – maybe 4 in total.
The speed is what shocked me the most. After shambling around to face me, the first ghoul took off towards me at unbelievable speed – I barely had time to fire the three shots necessary to take it down. By this point, two of the others had started to make their way towards me at similar pace. Dogmeat managed to distract one while I dealt with the other, backpedalling and firing as fast as I could, thankful I had already equipped my trusty pistol with an increased clip size. With another foe in the irradiated dust, I turned to finish of the other.
Dogmeat and I entered the house, taking quick stock of it – almost comically small, I felt disappointed already. That was, until I spotter the hatch leading to a root cellar – crouching down, I quietly entered. Edging forward, I had hit pay dirt – bags of concrete, ripe for the taking. After loading up, I spotted an open door to the left. Curiosity got the better of me, and I continued to creep through the cellar, the path I was on heading further down into the earth.
Rounding a corner, a doorway loomed before me. A low crackle from my Pip-Boy alerted me to the presence of radiation in the area. Cramped quarters had me reassess my weapon of choice, quickly switching to my double-barrel shotgun.
No reward without risk.
Opening the door, another feral ghoul appeared, going by the name of Gorski. I barely had time to register this information before I had put two shotgun shells through his head. The radiation level crept up as I entered the room – I had to work fast. Food and water might have been plentiful, but Rad Away was not.
Hacking into his personal terminal revealed a few interesting tidbits – Gorski was none too happy about the power-lines erected over his house, pledging to take matters into his own hands. A cursory search of his workbench revealed the rest of his plan – parts to create a small nuclear device. I quickly swiped them and made my way back to the settlement. Nobody there cared where or how I’d gotten the concrete; they were just grateful to have a source of clean drinking water and a tiny bit of security in a world so full of horror and despair.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my first few hours of Fallout 4. If you’re still here and have played the game yourself, you might be asking:
“Why didn’t you just scrap some ruined buildings right next to that quest giver?”
I’d like to validate that enquiry but also offer some counterarguments. Firstly, the size of the Fallout 4 manual, which I have included as a scapegoat.
Secondly, it must be taken into account that I did not even bother to read this pitiful tome, let alone any Fallout 4 construction primers. In retrospect, my time certainly could have been more productively spent in the game world, but that sort of mentality goes against the design work Bethesda puts into their open world titles. For 90 minutes of my life, I was on a quest for virtual concrete – a sentence that has surely never been written before.
Stephen del Prado
It was whilst toiling away in the bowels of the now mythical Australian Gamer forums that Stephen’s attempts at writing were recognised by then up-and-coming Matt ‘Hewso’ Hewson as “not terrible”. Since then he has contributed to such sites as The Age’s now defunct Screen Play, the now-long retired Black Panel and currently serves under Editor-in-Chief Hewso for Player2.net.au, at least until the pattern of decline obvious in his previous engagements is picked up on by Hewso and he is exiled from games journalism forever.
Writes on Yugambeh land.